Florida Senate says there should be time to play in schools

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By: Associated Press
April 4, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Children attending elementary schools in Florida would have recess every day under a bill approved by the Florida Senate.

The Senate unanimously voted Tuesday for a bill that would require elementary schools to set aside 20 minutes each day for "free-play recess." But it's unclear if the legislation will make it to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

That's because the House is moving a different bill. The House version would allow school districts to offer recess as part of physical education classes. But the legislation does not include a mandate to offer it every school day. It would only apply to students between kindergarten and third grade.

For the past two years, mothers of school children have lobbied for the recess bill. They say children need recess to expend energy and give them a break from schoolwork.

By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
March 28, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- At its last meeting today, a House subcommittee approved a watered down recess bill. A movement called 'Recess Moms' had wanted five days of recess, each lasting twenty minutes, for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The version approved today stops at third grade.

Sponsor Rene Plasencia says the measure was all the House was willing to accept.

“So it won’t take away the daily mandate of recess because you would still have the ability to have recess on the days you have physical education. On the days that you don’t, then you are obligated to have recess," says Rep. Plasencia (R-Brevard County).

Florida PTA Legislative Chair Angie Gallow says without compromise, there would have been no bill.

“We do have concerns. We have concerns about it opening up the P.E. statute. We’re concerned that it only addresses K through 3, but it’s a process and this is only step one in the process and we look forward to working with them as it goes forward,” Gallo says.

"And this is better than nothing?” we asked Gallo.

“This is absolutely better than nothing and we do have the Senate version which I believe is slated to go to the floor this week or next week,” says Gallo.

The Senate version has five days of recess with no encroachment on P.E. classes.

By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
February 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Flanked by Florida moms who want their elementary kids to have recess each day, the sponsors of legislation that would require twenty minutes a day of free play talked to reporters on Thursday.

The legislation faces an uncertain future because it is considered a mandate to local school districts, but sponsor Anitere Flores says research can’t be disputed.

“Our research, not our research, but research from across the state and across the country shows that giving our students a fifteen to twenty minute break every day helped them not just mentally, but helped them academically. And helps the teachers as well," says Sen. Flores.

The legislation was filed after a swell of grassroots support from moms and teachers across the state. The PTA also supports a mandated recess break for grades K-5.

By: Associated Press
February 21, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida schools would be required to let children out each day for recess under a bill now moving in the state Legislature.

A Senate panel approved a bill (SB 78) Tuesday that would require elementary schools to set aside 20 minutes each day for "free-play recess."

For the past two years mothers of school children have lobbied for the change. They say children need recess to expend energy and give them a break from schoolwork.

Last year a similar bill was approved by the House but the Senate never considered it because a top senator opposed it.

A Senate analysis of the bill found 11 out of the state's 67 school districts had an approved recess policy. But those districts varied in how much time was set aside for recess.

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